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Sunday, Aug. 9, 2009

Real Madrid crushes FC Toronto in friendly

TORONTO (AP) Two goals by Raul and another by Cristiano Ronaldo in the opening 26 minutes sent Real Madrid to a 5-1 victory over Toronto FC on Friday night.

News photo
Poetry in motion: Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo moves the ball during a friendly against FC Toronto on Friday. Real Madrid won 5-1. AP PHOTO

Karim Benzema, in the 65th minute, and Arjen Robben in the 86th also scored before a record crowd of 22,089 at BMO Field — including NBA stars Steve Nash and Chris Bosh.

Substitute Gabe Gala scored in the 75th minute for the Major League Soccer hosts.

Real Madrid, which spent nearly $400 million to add eight players including Ronaldo, Kaka and Benzema over the summer, had an overwhelming edge in talent on the $250,000 temporary natural grass installed solely for the contest.

"Clearly," MLS commissioner Don Garber said during halftime. "There's probably five times the salary budget of our entire league out there.

"It's a chance for our fans to see what the sport can be at that level."

Raul opened the scoring in the 13th minute when he picked up a deflected clearing attempt by the penalty spot, and after having his first shot blocked, rifled the ball off the crossbar and in.

Toronto goalkeeper Stefan Frei was even more helpless 6 minutes later when Ronaldo took a deep ball on the wing, headed it to Benzema and then got a return backpass from the Frenchman and rifled a low shot home from the top of the box.

Seven minutes after that, Real Madrid scored again when Raul Albiol passed across the box to Cristoph Metzelder by the post, and he sent a header across the goal to Raul, who headed it in.

Toronto FC showed more initiative in the second half against a Madrid lineup sprinkled with backups — Kaka came out after 45 minutes, while Ronaldo, Raul and Guti headed for the bench in the 63rd minute to loud applause — and rewarded their fans when Gala found the mark.

Beckham speaks out

CAMBRIDGE , Mass. (AP) Los Angeles Galaxy star David Beckham says he is thinking about buying an MLS team when his current contract is up.

"I still want to be involved. I want to be an ambassador of the league," he told reporters on Friday, a day before the Galaxy play the New England Revolution in Foxborough.

"There's a deal in place where I can purchase an MLS team or start a franchise. It's something I am definitely interested in, or I wouldn't have it in my contract."

Beckham's option to buy a Major League Soccer franchise was reported last year, though he would not comment on the details. But now the international star, who will be 36 when his contract expires, is just two seasons away from the end of the five-year, $32.5 million deal he signed to leave Real Madrid and join the upstart American league.

"The option is there," he said, declining to speculate on whether he also would play for his own team.

The Galaxy brought Beckham in as a boost for the struggling team and the sport's low profile in America. Although the benefits have yet to be seen on the field — he was injured much of the first season, and the Galaxy have yet to make the playoffs with him — attendance has spiked at home and wherever the team plays.

"Every game I've played in, there's always an excitement in the crowd," Beckham said of the more than 93,000 who came to see the Galaxy play FC Barcelona last week. "As a player and as a team, you want to play in front of bigger crowds. We need to cultivate that interest in the game."

But Beckham drew some unwanted interest when he gestured to booing fans who resented his reluctant return to Los Angeles after playing with AC Milan.

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said Beckham has been "nothing but fabulous" to work with.

"On the field, he's a very important member of the team," Arena said.

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